I fractured my tail-bone four years ago during the hours of labor that led to the arrival of one of my greatest joys, a spunky girl who’s always singing but who was, at that time, just a sunny-side up miracle.
As my daughter grew, the pain in my back-side lessened, and I imagined that things back there were healing properly. However, strapped to a stretcher a little over a year later, the pain was back and more intense than ever. I had hurt that tender spot again.
One still-birth and one live-birth later, I’m in a mess of pain most days. We bump along the poorly-made and poorly-cared for streets of Kathmandu, and I wince and bite back the complaints on the tip of my tongue.
I often think, this wound will never heal, as it is constantly chipped at again and again.
As we bumped along on the way back to a hotel today to say good-bye to grandparents headed back to America after a sweet but short visit, my focus was more on the pain in my heart than on the bone that bounced upon the back-seat.
The wound there was big and gaping when we left for Nepal last March. Over-time, it began to heal and was bandaged by Face-time chats and care packages. But with each visit and each goodbye, cracks I thought were long-ago sealed re-emerge.
The TLC delivered is so needed and is medicine for motivation. My heart is certainly more helped than hurt, yet I am left with the somber presence of this thought, “I guess this wound will never heal.”
And certainly it won’t for the Grandma and Grandpa with 6 grandbabies on 3 continents. I covet your prayers for these heroes of mine and the heavy hearts they are lugging back to America today.
It was just a Tonka truck. Tucked into a 50 pound duffle bag of garage-sale gathered toddler clothes and toys.
It was thrown under a plane in Cincinnati, in Chicago, and again in Abu-Dabi along with other travelers’ jet-setting necessities and relocating families’ most prized possessions. It arrived in the back of our little Maruti Suzuki bursting with the gifts of doting grandparents finally arriving for a 10 day stay.
The next morning, it spilled out among the spoils spread out upon our marble floor. I nearly gasped at the sight! The previous Christmas, I had placed a Tonka truck on my Amazon wish list, not thinking much how unlikely and inconvenient this request was for a family living in a foreign land.
But leave it to Grandma to fulfill these crazy notions bound by far more than my imagination. She revealed to me that she had searched and even prayed while scavenging yard sales in my home town to find one of these golden vehicles of destructive delight.
It was just a Tonka truck. But to me, it was so much more. It was a glowing, gleaming expression of an indestructible force- love. Though this tough love is threatened by thousands of miles, it plows and plunders through every obstacle and runs down each hill heaped up by hundreds of hardships.
Its work is HARD, and it is quietly admired by those privileged to behold its wonder. Its work is worth doing. Its work challenges and encourages me, though it is most often done without applause or praise.
Not many volunteer to take part in the cause. Most cringe a little at the mention at such a tedious, difficult task.
It speaks to me of a Savior that gives good gifts, no matter the cost. That toils to soften hard and frozen ground, to love those that are incapable of extending anything worth offering.
And it challenges me to love and give beyond myself. When it’s not quite cute and cozy and capable of being captured in a filtered photograph. I’ll roll up my sleeves and do the hard work of loving other people.
Across seas. Across cultures. Across the dining room table and down the hall.
Across the yellow-tape of my own comfort zone.
So thanks, MiMi, for the Tonka truck. Every time Shep vrooms it around the house or throws it down the stairs, I think of you (usually fondly, less so on the latter act). But mostly, I think of the hard work you’re doing.
And I thank God for a little boy so loved…
…even if he doesn’t seem to appreciate it like I do.
I always thought food was something only little kids at VBS are curious about, but turns out most everyone who has inquired about my life here in Nepal has expressed interest in knowing what we eat here, how we eat it, and how we like it!
I don’t know why I’m surprised by these inquiries. Food is a big part of our lives and influences so much of our day as well as social activities. Common Nepali greetings include, “Have you eaten?” “Did you drink tea?” etc. and you can always find groups of Nepalis huddled together drinking tea or passing around a plate of snacks.
Though Nepali snacks and sweets just aren’t up to my standards, I do love me some Nepali savory foods.
Generally, Nepalis eat two large meals a day generally consisting of a combination of veggies, rice, and lentils and typically only eat meat on special occasions when it is served as a side dish (I’d like to think we Americans have the right idea of this one!). They also have tea and snacks twice a day with a small meal in between should hunger strike. If they’re anything like me that would be every day.
While I do enjoy this traditional Nepali meal, there is no way in this world I could eat it twice a day (though this will probably change)! In fact, once or twice a week is good for me.
The rest of the week we enjoy meals like tacos, chili, Shepherd’s pie (not bubby’s as Jo thinks), and fried rice, to name a few family favorites. 4 nights a week, we have a young Nepali man eat dinner with us. He is getting used to our food but prefers Nepali food. I try to spice up our favorite dishes to appease him. My kids are not impressed.
Nepali milk tea which is sometimes sweet and sometimes a little spicy was definitely an acquired taste for us. But now that we’ve acquired it, there’s no going back! I imagine we will be cooking up some chiya when we are back in America just to take us back to Nepal one delicious moment at a time. Still trying to figure out why we haven’t adopted a tea time in America. I love the structure and social opportunities it brings to each day! Not to mention, it’s delicious and extremely comforting and doesn’t betray me like high-caff coffee tends to do.
Other acquired tastes have been momos, paneer, beaten rice (which we absolutely hated and now prefer over cooked rice), and puffed rice. Beaten rice and puffed rice (basically non-crisp Rice Krispies) are often eaten with vegetable- or chicken-curry which I would have gagged over just thinking about before and now DROOL over. What in the world has happened to me? And the better question is, why am I writing this post so close to dinner time? My stomach is speaking to me. It’s saying I need to invite my neighbor over to cook dinner for us. Nope. Nope that was my lazy bones talking.
The way they season and SPICE UP food here, I really think I could eat just about anything coated in the yummy goodness (anyone up for some ostrich?). When people try to tame food to please the wimpy foreigners I am NOT a happy camper. I am not a sissy when it comes to spice. The hotter the heat the tastier the treat. That’s what I always say! Okay, I just made it up. You caught me.
Though with this tendency to ladle on the masala I need to adopt the habit of chasing my super heated meals with yogurt as the Nepalis do. I haven’t fallen in love with plain yogurt; however, thankfully my kids have. I’ll take sugar-drowned Yoplait any day of the week. Although, I have found plain yogurt to be a necessity in cooking our food, and I am so glad I found that out. I have finally perfected my banana bread recipe thanks to the addition of this readily available (and super cheap!) staple.
While I don’t think I will be eating rice for breakfast anytime soon, offer me some Nepali food any other time of the day, and I am good to go! Otherwise I’ll be at KFC where I enjoy spicy chicken and rizo rice. Yum!
Let me know if you stumble upon any of these food items at your local import store or foreign food source. It might even be fun to have a little Nepali food or snack night with your family! (Just don’t watch Everest. Save that for a day you want to feel absolutely terrible). You may be surprised to find you enjoy some of these unfamiliar food items!
Tell me about your foreign food adventures!
I would love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!
As missionaries on deputation, we spend LOTS of time in the car! Boredom strikes quickly, and we get a little antsy. Things can get pretty intense at times…especially with a little one in tow. Here are just a few of the things that make our life on the road just a little bit more enjoyable for everyone!
Magna-doodle! This thing has revolutionized our travel! It’s a good thing my Grandma ignored the age recommendations and bought this for Jo for Christmas! She will play with it for upwards of 30 minutes without complaint! She has recently been reporting to be drawing apples and “Barney.” Only one of these looks like the real deal.
Music! We love this Praise Baby collection to help Jo fall asleep. She also loves to sing and dance to Cedarmont Kids, Elmo, and Barney. Mommy and Daddy don’t really mind…usually. In fact, we can often be found singing along. We are in the car A LOT, okay? We were given a Spotify subscription for Christmas a couple of years in a row, and it has been a huge help on the road! Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa Taube!
Snacks! Daddy and I try not to snack too much in the car. Otherwise, this statement can be heard often: “Am I just eating because I’m bored?” Jo, of course, needs snacks throughout the day and likes the following: raisins, granola bars, juice boxes, cereal, and popcorn. Also, these are GREAT (especially when I’m feeling like a lousy mom).
DVD player! For when we get really desperate, a DVD player comes very much in handy! We were given a small one from a sweet family at our home church during our first month on deputation. It is the perfect size for Jo to hold in her lap and also fits between Mommy and Daddy’s armrests when we feel like her eyes are on stimulation overload. Jo’s favorite movies are Elmo in Grouchland and The Little People: Discovering Friendship (the free one that came with a play set!).
I love that all of these things have been given to us since we started the deputation journey. Of course, the snack supply is often replenished, but we regularly have gift cards to help us do so. It’s so awesome to think of all the ways our wonderful family, friends, and churches give to meet our needs and make our life on the road as a family go a little more smoothly. Traveling as a family can of course be tiring, but we are so grateful for the opportunities we get to present our ministry to India and for all of the extra time we get to spend together!
This may just be another post that sits in my “dashboard” scheduled for some day long down the road before which it will be sent to the trash. I put a lot of pressure on my posts, but I’m just going to start sharing about all the little things about our life on the road and journey to India.
One of the biggest blessings for us on deputation has been our second home in Ohio. And, I guess I should clarify; we don’t own two homes. We don’t even own one! We rent one in Georgia and stay with family in Ohio.
We try to schedule our meetings within a 5 hour radius of each of our “two homes.” This has allowed us to generally be either at home with our little family or in Ohio with our extended family. Not a lot of hotel-staying or prophet-chamber…ing. We appreciate all of the churches who have “put us up” (don’t you love missionary terms?) and families who have welcomed us into their homes, but there really is no place like home!
Had a birthday party for a very special one year old [February 21]
“Helped” friends pack for a move to Thailand [March ?]
Celebrated 3 years of marriage [Apr. 10]
Got in a car accident [Apr. 11]
Got family pictures taken [May 10]
Helped host a baby shower [May 11]
Experienced a loss [Ezra Coleman May 15]
Held a memorial service [May 17]
Went to India [June 10-21]
Welcomed Jo’s cousin Atlas [June 22]
Paul served as guest speaker at Salt Run Bible Camp [July 4-8]
Decorated a headstone [August 15]
Had another birthday party for this handsome man [Oct. 10]
Celebrated Thanksgiving in Ohio, and this is the only documentation [Nov. 28]
Jo got stitches [Dec. 6]
Had a wonderful Christmas with the whole fam [Dec. 25]
Went on a special Christmas date [Dec. 26]
It’s amazing to look back on the year and see all that the Lord has done in our lives. He has been good and giving through it all, and we praise Him for His blessings. We look forward to how He will work in our lives and provide for our needs as we seek to serve Him in the New Year.
I try not too look too far ahead on our deputation journey, otherwise, I get more than a little stressed out by our jam-packed schedule and the magnitude of miles between this meeting and that.
It drives my mom a little crazy when she is trying to keep up with where we are and what we are doing, and, really, it drove me a little crazy in the beginning too. I used to constantly ask Paul where we were going to be, when we would be home, when we would be seeing family, how many hours we would be in the car, etc. Come to think of it, that probably drove him a little crazy, too!
It has taken some time, but I’ve now gotten quite accustomed to going with the flow a little more. I always say, “All I ask if that you tell me when to be ready and how many days to pack for.” I’ve come to find that what the Bible says is true (imagine that!). As we seek to follow and honor him as we travel on deputation, tomorrow always takes care of itself!
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof (Matthew 6:34).
I like riding in the passenger seat and taking care of Jo as we ride along, but on trips where we drive through the night, I love the challenge of staying awake and alert behind the wheel while my family sleeps. I’m typically one of those super helpless women who needs my husband to open every jar and fill my gas tank, but sometimes it’s fun to be the hero, and this is about the only way I can!
I love pulling into the driveway of our destination and having my husband sleepily whisper, “You’re my hero.” I climb the stairs to the bedroom in a zombie-like state, but I fall asleep with a smile on my face and happiness in my heart. Sometimes it’s nice to be the hero of the man who’s mine!
I’m going to begin drafting short posts from my phone while riding in the car in an attempt to keep my blog more up to date! I strongly dislike typing on my phone, so don’t expect too much out of these!
Jolynn loves listening to children’s Bible songs in the car, and I love it, too! Granted, I’m a little tired of “Happy All the Time” at this moment, but it’s her favorite and, other than her futile attempts at singing, keeps her quiet, so mommy will just have to deal with it!
These songs are so simple, but they have the ability to set a foundation for learning the Word for Jo. And for me, they remind me of the little things involved in serving God that I so often forget. Like this little gem found in Philippians 4:4:
Rejoice in the Lord alway: [and] again I say, Rejoice.
This past month was absolutely crazy! My missionary friends, I’m sure, can relate because it is what we like to call “Missions Conference Season.”
We are halfway through the busiest part of the year, and I’m thinking, “Wow, we only have one more of these seasons left before we move to India!” And while I love attending missions conferences and having the rare opportunity to connect with new friends on a deeper level, I rejoice a bit in this because IT IS EXHAUSTING!
I’m a wimp, and I know it! My 19 month old daughter is more of a trooper than I am. I’m not proud of this…
You can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when my dear husband treated me to a little getaway! We retreated for about 36 hours to Eagle’s Wing Manor provided by Inn Keeper Ministries in Dayton, OH. He informed me that the original plan was to take this mini-vacation at the time of Ezra’s due date, but we were just too busy! I’m thankful because it ended up coming at just the right time when I was feeling like I was running on E!
The welcome information packet encouraged us to do nothing but rest, talk to God, and enjoy being together…and that’s exactly what we did! We watched 3 movies, took naps, ate an exorbitant amount of peanut butter M&M’s, took long talk-walks, and read by the pond. AHHH! A pretty perfect 36 hours to me! I didn’t throw a tantrum like Jo did when she was torn from the bouncy house at her cousin’s party, but I imagine we were feeling much of the same emotions!
While we dread the “Go! Go! Go!” of the month ahead, we relish the opportunity to share the burden God has given us for the country of India with several new churches. Our main topic of conversation during these days was how incredibly blessed we are to meet so many loving, giving people who care for our family and support us in the ministry God has called us to.
So, we’ll press on, seizing every opportunity to influence hearts for India while simultaneously snatching up these little pieces of heaven we find along the way!